Bees for Development

Beekeeping in the UK


Our main focus is on developing countries because we recognise the important role beekeeping can play in supporting the livelihoods of poor and marginalised communities. We work hard to help some of the poorest people keep bees profitably and sustainably.


However, we also recognise that it is important for us to take a global overview of apiculture in order to promote best practices and avoid mistakes. In particular, we find it important to engage in wider debates about the sustainability of beekeeping, conservation of indigenous bee species and issues concerned with biosecurity.


For anyone interested in the sustainable management of honey bee populations in the UK we can suggest the following;


Bees for Development Training Course on Sustainable Beekeeping (UK focus)

further information


Links to websites and projects

David Heaf's Warre Project

Natural Beekeeping Network

The Global Bee Project

Yatton Bee Project


Natural Beekeeping Discussion Day

On 21 July 2009 a group of beekeepers and conservationists met in Monmouth to talk about their shared interest in natural beekeeping and the importance of adopting new approaches to keeping bees in the UK. At the heart of the discussion was the recognition that the relationship between people and honey bees is becoming more exploitative and more harmful for the honey bee, and that the current rise in pests and diseases are symptoms of other serious underlying problems. To manage honey bee populations in the UK in a sustainable way we must tackle these underlying problems.


To see the record and summary of the meeting click here


UK honey bees and the question of sustainability


Some recently asked questions



Can I keep bees without taking their honey? 


Yes of course. You can be a bee guardian and just keep bees so you can take care of them and help nature. If you do not harvest honey the bees can use the surplus for their own purposes and honey is far more nutritious than sugar syrup. You will have to treat for Varroa but there are a number of ways you can do this. click here for a fuller answer



Which is the correct term for bees living in the wild in the UK, feral or wild?


The honey bee Apis mellifera is native to the UK and therefore colonies which are living in the wild and not in a bee hive are wild colonies. Feral is a term which is applied to species which have been imported to the UK as exotics and have then escaped into the wild. Mink is an example.